May 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Published in the Sunday Mail 19 May 2013
A FORMER SPL star who blew over £1 million on gambling has backed calls to tackle big money jackpot machines in bookies.
Former St Johnstone, Hearts and Motherwell player Kevin Twaddle believes fixed odds betting terminals encourage youngsters to gamble.
Described as the “crack cocaine” of gambling, FOTBs allow players to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on roulette, poker and blackjack.
Twaddle, 41, suffered from a gambling addiction which was laid bare when the Sunday Mail serialised his biography Life on the Line last year.
H’s now teamed up with Midlothian Council and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) to run help sessions which started last week in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian. He said: “These machines are bringing so many youngsters through the doors, it is unbelievable.
“GA have a core of about 10 kids who come into pur meetings every week. It is quite alarming watching all these younger people coming in.”
We revealed the scourge of FOBTs in some of Scotland’s poorest areas and growing calls to ban them from bookies.
A study claimed that gamblers in Scotland spend the equivalent of £1000 a year for every man and woman in the country.
At the height of his gambling addiction, Twaddle stole his dying gran’s life savings.
His habit eventually drove him to the brink of suicide.
He now helps fellow gambling addicts.
He said: “People know me from playing football or having read my book.
“If this helps people to come forward and I can use my background to help others then great.
“Hope is the biggest thing that I took from my first GA meeting. But you have to have something about you to want to give up, a bit of desire to make your life better.”